Buffalo:An International Animal of Promise

New Delhi,
1 February 2010

International Buffalo Conference on ‘Optimizing Buffalo Productivity Through Conventional and Novel Technologies’ was inaugurated on 1 February 2010, to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of the Central Institute for Research on Buffaloes, Hisar, in association with Indian Society for Buffalo Development (ISBD) and Asian Buffalo Association (ABA). In his inaugural address Dr S Ayyappan, Secretary, Department of Agricultural Research and Education and Director General, Indian Council of Agricultural Research, emphasized that livestock rearing has remained the most effective employment generation and livelihood security enterprise for the uneducated and educated unemployed rural youth. Over the last three decades, livestock sector has consistently accounted for over 4 % of the country’s GDP, while its share in the GDP from agricultural sector steadily increased from 14 to 25%, while remaining greater than 20% over the last two decades. Milk is the major contributor to the GDP from livestock sector. He eulogized buffalo as ‘the black gold of India’ and the preferred milch animal of the farmers.

Dr.Ayyappan added that today over half of the total milk produced in the country, 56-57% to be precise, is being contributed by buffaloes despite the fact that buffalo population is nearly half to that of cattle (185 millions). With such high contribution of buffalo, today India is the largest milk producer in the world producing about 105 million metric tons per annum. He outlined the contribution of buffalo not only in providing wholesome milk to our vast vegetarian population, but also as a source of employment and livelihood to millions of our landless, marginal and small farmers.

Professor K M L Pathak, Deputy Director-General (Animal Sciences) in his presidential address informed that milk production in India has witnessed a phenomenal increase of as high as 5.5% per annum during certain periods in last three decades, taking per capita milk availability to 241 g per day from a meager 124 g per day in 1950s.

About 500 delegates from India and abroad like USA, Brazil, Italy, Germany, Australia, Egypt, Iran, Malaysia, Philippines are participating in this conference covering various spheres of research in buffalo health, production, products processing, nutrition, etc. Scientists with outstanding contribution to buffalo research were awarded on the occasion.

(Source:PR Unit,ICAR )